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Gaza Conflict Killing: Now 2,078 Palestinians (about 1,788 Civilians), 67 Israelis (3 Civilians)

7:37 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Yeah, still happening, still heart-rending. Reuters reports:

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza on July 8 … Gaza health officials say 2,066 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.

Israeli attacks have devastated many areas in the densely-populated enclave, home to 1.8 million people, with 425,000 of people displaced, according to the United Nations.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict, as well as three civilians in the Jewish state.

(By the way, why does Reuters call a 25% non-Jewish country a “Jewish state”?) To the Reuters figure of 2066 Palestinians I added the 12 civilians that Israel killed during West Bank pro-Gaza protests. As I reported earlier, the UN states that 86% of identifiable victims on the Palestinian side have been civilians. If that trend has continued (the latest OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs) report inexplicably doesn’t say how many of the dead are identifiable as civilian or non-civilian
!) in Gaza, that means Israel has killed 1,788 civilians there and in the West Bank.

Here are three recent UN reports (PDF) on the specifics of what Israel is doing (with the support of our US tax dollars, of course):

At approximately 21:30 on 19 August 2014, Israeli planes attacked a three-storey house belonging to Rabah Shihda al-Dalu, in Sheikh Radwan,northwest of Gaza City. According to Israeli media, the target was Mohammed al-Deif, the Head of the Hamas military wing, and the ordnance used consisted of five one-ton bombs. The house was completely destroyed, four neighbouring houses were extensively damaged, as were the building and vehicles of a local transportation company. It is unclear if Al-Deif was killed, but his wife, son, daughter, and another woman and her two sons were killed. Fifteen others were injured. The body of Al-Deif’s daughter was recovered today.

At approximately 04:50 on 20 August, an Israeli plane launched a missile at a house in Deir al-Balah belonging to Mustafa Mohammed al-Louh. The house and a neighboring house belonging to the owner’s son were destroyed, and seven members of the family were killed; three men; the pregnant wife of one; and their children. Another family member, a 17-year-old girl died of her wounds today.

At approximately 02:30 today, 21 August, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the house of Nasser Kellab, west of the town or Rafah. The targets were three senior Hamas commanders who were killed, as were another five persons, including children; bodies are still being recovered. Two people were also killed in a neighbouring house.

For the bigger picture on what is being done to Gaza civilians besides killing them, read Fred Branfman’s cut-to-the-chase summary of what’s taking place. I like his fronting of the parallels between the U.S. in Vietnam and Israel in Gaza:

Read the rest of this entry →

Gaza Conflict: 1039 Palestinians, 43 Israelis Dead; Israel Bombs Another Hospital [UPDATED]

7:04 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

851 Palestinians (844 in Gaza, 7 in the West Bank) and 38 Israelis have died in the Gaza conflict. 80% or about 680 of the Palestinians and three of the Israelis (one of whom is a resident and not a citizen) were civilians. [UPDATE: at the time of the Saturday morning truce, the number of dead had risen to 890 Palestinians and 40 Israelis.] [UPDATE 2: After a grueling day of digging up bodies from the rubble, the Palestinian death toll is now 1039 (1032 in Gaza and 7 in the West Bank. More Israeli soldiers had died before the truce, so the Israeli total increased to 43.] As noted in the casualty figures, Israel has expanded its killing to the West Bank: Israeli troops kill Palestinian teens in W.Bank protests. And Israel continues to target and bomb schools (see UN school shelled leaving 15 dead) and hospitals. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported Friday night from Beit Hanoun Hospital:

“It’s now chaos, the military is shelling directly at us. There are two patients on the second floor and we think they’re okay, but we can’t move them easily as they’re bed-bound. I’m bleeding from a head wound and there’s another person injured. People are very frightened,” stated Fred Ekblad, Swedish ISM activist.

At 19:00, Beit Hanoun Hospital was first hit by an Israeli tank shell and the shooting and shelling has continually increased.

This afternoon, Israeli forces destroyed an ambulance in Beit Hanoun, killing one paramedic and critically injuring another.

The ISM medical team statement added:

This is the third Israeli attack on Gazan medical facilities and personnel in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in the destruction of Al Durrah Children’s Hospital in Gaza City last night. A two year-old child in the Intensive Care Unit was killed, and 30 others injured.

Since Israel began its attack on Gaza, 13 ambulances have been completely destroyed and two paramedics have been killed. Throughout the massacre, medical staff and facilities have been repeatedly targeted.

In other, possibly good news, Israel has agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin at 8:00 am Saturday morning in Israel, with the condition that Israel not stop searching out and destroying the tunnels that in a very limited way have broken Israel and Egypt’s illegal siege. According to Israeli news reports, Hamas has also agreed to the short ceasefire. Looking at that condition, should they?

In any case my sympathies to the Palestinians who somehow have to figure out a way to resist the overwhelming force of Israeli arms, the constant death from the air even when Hamas has stopped firing rockets, and the siege (‘Unless Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza, no ceasefire can work‘), which is killing people as effectively as bombs do. The Angry Arab sums up:

Brief history of Palestinian resistance
They did nothing and they ignored them. They resorted to armed struggle and then they called them terrorists. They throw rocks at Israelis and they called told them that they should stick to civil disobedience and just bang pots and pans. Then (some) resorted to suicide bombings and then they told them: see, you are losing support. They were told that armed struggle is when they only attack soldiers. And then they sat quietly. And then they resisted Israeli war crimes and were told that Israeli soldiers’ families are really sad and upset and that they should not operate from “population centers” and that they should move to a field in Belgium if they really want to attack Israeli soldiers.

It is very good to see both that the ‘suicide bomber’ era is long in the past and that the Palestinian resistance is obviously targeting the Israeli military and not civilians. The numbers don’t lie, and they say that only one side, the Israelis, are the blood-soaked barbarians. On this matter, one more note from the Angry Arab:

Hamas targets
Today, for example, Arabic media reported that Qassam announced targeting a nuclear weapon site outside of Tel Aviv. Tomorrow, all US media will ignore the announcement and will say that Hamas announced targeting “Israeli population centers”.

Finally, Jon Snow of Britain’s Channel 4 has written a remarkably sad, humane piece on a reporter’s personal experiences inside Gaza during the bombing, and the telling contrasts when he crosses into Israel:

… I know not their story, nor how, alone seemingly, they were the only Palestinians, in that brief half-hour of Israeli aerial ceasefire, to have been allowed across.

But holding [their] girl baby connected me again to the wardfuls of small children so brutally smashed by this odious war. Connected me too to the ever-present reality that the average age in Gaza is 17 and that a quarter of a million are children are, like the babe in my arms, small children.

… Gaza’s agony … deepened with the UN school attack as I was crossing. I feel guilty in leaving, and for the first time in my reporting life, scarred, deeply scarred by what I have seen, some of it too terrible to put on the screen.

It is accentuated by suddenly being within sumptuously appointed Israel. Accentuated by the absolute absence of anything that indicates that this bloody war rages a few miles away. A war that the UN stated yesterday has reduced 55 per cent of Gaza’s diminutive land to a no-go area.

‘Israel’ Disappears Palestinian Village, AP Disappears Perpetrators

4:29 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Scratch an obscure hillside in Israel and you find the tragedy and brutality of the Nakba, Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing [big map file] of Palestine’s Arab peoples. So, when the AP published Friday one of its many ’normal country’ articles about Israel, describing the excavation of an ancient hillside that was the Philistine town of Gath and later the Arab village of Tell es-Safi (the location also happens to be on the ‘Palestine’ side of the 1947 UN armistice line), a reader should demand that the article answer the following question: “What about Tell es-Safi, why was it abandoned by its inhabitants in 1948?” Wikipedia:

On 7 July [1948] Givaiti* commander Shimon Avidan issued orders to the 51st Battalion to take the Tall al-Safi area and “to destroy, to kill and to expel [lehashmid, leharog, u´legaresh] refugees encamped in the area, in order to prevent enemy infiltration from the east to this important position.”[16] According to Benny Morris, the nature of the written order and, presumably, accompanying oral explanations, probably left little doubt in the battalion OC’s minds that Avidan wanted the area cleared of inhabitants.[17][18]

*The Givati was a brigade of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary force from 1920-1948 that would later form the core of the Israeli Defense Forces.

The AP instead reports the ethnic cleansing of the village in the following way, the passive construction excusing and disappearing the Israeli perpetrators:

… later the site became home to an Arab village, Tel el-Safi, which emptied during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

(The Israeli university conducting the archaelogical dig is even more demure, referring not at all to the Arab ghost town or 1948 but only to “the site known as Tell es-Safi.”)

Almost always, when a news story touches on recent Palestinian or Israeli history, the anonymous Wikipedia army crushes the mainstream press. Wikipedia regularly provides readers the full, important truth. Wikipedia of course has lots of flaws — among them that it doesn’t have an encyclopedia entry entitled ‘The Nakba’ — but in this case: Wikipedia good, unafraid, unbiased, complete truth; AP bad, afraid, pro-ethnic-cleansing biased, very important truth left out.

And the whole truth matters, because it would inform clueless Americans — on this topic the vast majority — about ‘why they hate us’. ‘They’ hate the U.S. government for its always unquestioning but now increasingly enthusiastic support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing project, which is ongoing in July 2011, 63 years after the village of Tell es-Safih was cleansed and disappeared.

In the late 19th century, Tell al-Safi was described as a village built of adobe brick with a well in the valley to the north.[13] James Hastings notes that the modern village prior to its depopulation also contained a sacred walī.[7]

The villagers of Tall al-Safi were Muslim, and they had a mosque, a marketplace, and a shrine for a local sage called Shaykh Mohammad. In 1944 a total of 19,716 dunums [1 dunum = .25 acres] of land were used for cereals, while 696 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[14]

To stop the ethnic cleansing please support Desmond Tutu’s call for the boycott of and divestment from an apartheid Israel.